The Importance of Marriage in The Taming of the Shrew

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Human relations are an intriguing and important aspect of life. Whether platonic or romantic, tumultuous or steady, or between one gender or both, human relationships define us as human beings. In the play, The Taming of the Shrew, written by William Shakespeare, the relationships between romantic couples in particular serve to emphasize the importance of marriage during Shakespeare’s time. Originally published in 1590, the play highlights the relevance marriage had in popular culture. Marriage brought wealth, as in Petruchio’s case, social status, and the obvious love, as in Lucentio’s case. The relationships between Petruchio and Katherine, and Lucentio and Bianca, are alike and similar in their own ways, and serve as primary example of the importance of marriage in the society of The Taming of the Shrew.
Despite the dysfunction of Katherine and Petruchio’s relationship and the loving dramatics of Bianca and Lucentio’s relationship, all parties seem to be perfectly content with one another. Petruchio is able to marry a rich woman, Katherine willingly takes on the role of the compliant and obedient housewife, Lucentio marries the woman of his dreams, and Bianca remains in control of her life. Petruchio first comes to Padua to marry a rich woman and expresses this when he says, “Antonio, my father, is deceased, And I have thrust myself into this maze, Happily to wive and thrive, as best I may” (I. ii 55-57). Petruchio is an already rich, wealthy, but greedy man whose sole objective is to marry a woman from a wealthy family and he is content with his relationship with Katherine because he is able to do so with her. Katherine proves to be content with her marriage to Petruchio as well because she learns what it means to be an obedie...

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...woman he loves. For Petruchio it is a financial gain and his way of always being in control. For Bianca marriage means something most women at this time did not have: independence, and for Katherine marriage means obedience. Regardless of the different types of marriage represented in this play, the importance of marriage is a theme that is prominent throughout the entire piece of literature. Choosing not to marry is never considered a possibility for any of the characters, and instead, is seen as a natural process of life. The relationships between Petruchio and Katherine, and Lucentio and Bianca can not only be compared and contrasted in different and interesting ways, but serve to highlight the importance of marriage in society in The Taming of the Shrew.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. The Taming of the Shrew. New York: Washington Square Press, 1992. Print.
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